Interview with the ABC
Author Caroline Overington has explored the case against Louisa Collins in her new book, Last Woman Hanged.
Ms Overington searched the archives to re-examine the original forensic reports, court documents, judges notebooks, witness statements and police records in an attempt to find the truth of Louisa Collins' story.
Botany was a swamp dotted with wool sheds, wool scourers, and workers' cottages in the 1880s.
"Louisa lived there in a little house with her seven children and her husband, and they had another four to six boarders depending on the time of the year," Ms Overington said.
"They would take in workers who would come down to work in the sheds.
"It was poverty, a very tough life.
"She was encouraged into marriage at a very young age because there was simply no way for women to make a living."
Collins found the cycle of domestic drudgery grinding and liked to live life on the 'wild' side of 1880s social mores.
"She liked to drink, and she liked to dance, she was a little bit wild," Ms Overington said.
Rumours abounded that Collins liked the male company of her boarders a little too much ....